Clinton Foundation Discloses $26 Million In Contributions It ‘Forgot’ To Disclose Before

The Clinton Foundation has disclosed that there were $26 million in donations that it had failed to disclose while Hillary was Secretary of State.

Hillary Bill Chelsea Clinton

Yesterday, the Clinton Foundation revealed yet more previously undisclosed payments that it has received from corporations, foreign sources, and elsewhere, and once again it appears as if much of this material involve things that should have been disclosed long ago:

The Clinton Foundation reported Thursday that it has received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups.

The disclosure came as the foundation faced questions over whether it fully complied with a 2008 ethics agreement to reveal its donors and whether any of its funding sources present conflicts of interest for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins her presidential campaign.

The money was paid as fees for speeches by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Foundation officials said the funds were tallied internally as “revenue” rather than donations, which is why they had not been included in the public listings of its contributors published as part of the 2008 agreement.

According to the new information, the Clintons have delivered 97 speeches to benefit the charity since 2002. Colleges and universities sponsored more than two dozen of these speeches, along with U.S. and overseas corporations and at least one foreign government, Thailand.

The payments were disclosed late Thursday on the organization’s Web site, with speech payments listed in ranges rather than specific amounts. In total, the payments ranged between $12 million and $26.4 million.

The paid appearances included speeches by former president Bill Clinton to the Ni­ger­ian ThisDay newspaper group for at least $500,000 and to the Beijing Huaduo Enterprise Consulting Company Ltd., an investment holding company that specializes in the natural gas market, for at least $250,000. Citibank paid at least $250,000 for a speech by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The disclosures underscore how much the Clintons have leveraged their star power to draw more money not just for their personal enrichment but also for the benefit of their philanthropic work.

The foundation, which has raised $2 billion since Bill Clinton left the White House, has emerged as a political headache for Hillary Clinton amid recent controversies over donations. The foundation, along with the Clintons’ paid speaking careers, have provided additional avenues for foreign governments and other interests to gain entrée to one of America’s most prominent political families. Some Republicans have charged that Hillary Clinton, during her tenure as secretary of state, was in a position to reward foundation donors.

Thursday’s disclosure is one of a number of instances in recent weeks in which the foundation has acknowledged that it received funding from sources not disclosed on its Web site.

The ethics agreement was reached between the foundation and the Obama administration to provide additional transparency and avoid potential conflicts of interest with Hillary Clinton’s appointment as secretary of state.

The agreement placed restrictions on foreign government donations, for instance, but the foundation revealed in February that it had violated the limits at one point by taking $500,000 from Algeria.

Thursday’s release regarding speaking fees follows earlier disclosures showing how the lecture circuit has also made the Clintons personally wealthy.

Last week, Hillary Clinton disclosed that she and her husband made around $25 million since January 2014 from speeches; Bill Clinton also was paid more than $104 million from 2001 through 2012 by delivering speeches.

The Clintons reported that income on federally required personal financial disclosure forms filed by Hillary Clinton as a senator, secretary of state and now a declared presidential candidate.

But the new disclosure indicates that the former president has also spent considerable time speaking on the foundation’s behalf — 73 times since 2002.

Hillary Clinton has delivered 15 such speeches, including one address to Goldman Sachs and another to JPMorgan Chase. Chelsea Clinton, who has taken on an increasingly active role at the foundation, has collected fees for the charity from nine organizations.

The foundation did not provide dates for the speaking engagements.

Vincent Salamone, a spokesman for the Office of Government Ethics, said this week that speeches delivered by public officials or their spouses acting as an “agent” of a charitable group in which the payment is made directly to the organization need not be disclosed in financial filings of public officials.

This latest news is just the latest in a series of rolling reports that have come out over the course of the past month regarding the Clinton Foundation starting with its failure to report donations from foreign sources while Clinton was Secretary of State, its relationship to a multinational deal involving a Russian uranium company, and other reports that tends to support the idea that neither Clinton nor the Foundation complied with either the letter or the spirit of its agreement with the Obama Administration regarding the disclosure of donations from foreign sources during the period from 2009 to 2013, The revelation also answers one of the questions that was raised after the disclosure earlier this week that the Clinton’s had made some $30 million over the past sixteen months from giving speeches, namely the question of how much money was paid directly to the Foundation, and by whom, for speeches that they gave. As I said at that time, the issue that these revelations raise isn’t so much how much money the Clinton’s made, although it does once again put the lie to Hillary Clinton’s assertions that she and her husband were “dead broke” when he left office in 2001. The real issue is the extent to which these payments, in more than one case some half a million dollars for a single speech, represented efforts by corporations and foreign sources to gain access to the Clinton’s both before, during, and after the time that she was Secretary of State. Given the fact that we’ve already seen several examples of entities that gave donations to the Foundation benefiting from State Department decision, it is certainly a relevant question, even more so given the fact that Mrs. Clinton is running for President of the United States and may very well win the office notwithstanding all these ethical issues.

As I’ve said before, so far at least it doesn’t seem as though this issue is having much of an impact in the polls, and indeed it may not ultimately change the outcome of the election. Notwithstanding that, though, it seems obvious that these are issues that deserve to be scrutinized, especially if Clinton is going to become President. The American people deserve to know this information. If they decide that it’s unimportant, or that it’s outweighed whatever good things they may see in Mrs. Clinton, that’s there choice, but the assertion that I’ve seen in some quarters that this is all just another witch hunt against the Clinton’s is utterly absurd. This is especially true given the fact that most of the news on this story has been broken by The New York Times and The Washington Post, which are hardly Fox News Channel. Indeed, the fact that the “mainstream” media is pursuing this story is likely one of the reasons that Clinton has been so parsimonious with her press appearances, and why most of her appearances before “regular voters” have ended up consisting of people that were pre-selected by the campaign or the local Democratic Party. If she’s got nothing to hide, then let her answer the questions. Instead, much like her and her husband did in the 90s, she’s circling the wagons and sending out surrogates to attack the messenger. Maybe that will work again, but if it does it really says as much about the American electorate as it does about the Clintons.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Modulo Myself says:

    These were not donations or contributions. They were actual payments received for speaking engagements. For non-profits, that’s not funding. The Clinton Foundation had to reveal its donors, not its revenue. In this case, the Foundation did not do anything wrong. Make of that what you will.

  2. wr says:

    If we all agree to say she’s evil evil evil and that you are right to be obsessed with finding news stories to recast to make her look as evil as she really is, will you start posting on other topics?

  3. ElizaJane says:

    This is the story from the Post that I referenced in another thread, to which there were 3000+ donations (closer to 4000 by this point), all strongly negative toward Clinton. This in spite of lines in the story such as this one:

    The disclosures underscore how much the Clintons have leveraged their star power to draw more money not just for their personal enrichment but also for the benefit of their philanthropic work.

    Oh my God! They leveraged their star power to benefit their philanthropic work! Well, that certainly disqualifies Hillary from holding office in the United States.

    I want to repeat from the last thread that the Democrats are IDIOTS and so is the Clinton campaign. They are allowing the Republicans to entirely set the narrative about their candidate. I see virtually no push-back. I never see spokespeople injecting any factual data into the mix, and factual data clearly exists. The Foundation actually did accomplish admirable things. They actually spent a large proportion of their funds on programs (cf. CharityWatch). And Clinton was a fine Secretary of State; during those years, she was extremely widely admired both at home and abroad. The Clinton campaign has done zero to leverage those strengths. I completely fail to understand this; I can only see it as cringing incompetence.

    In 2008 I did not support Hillary because 1) I was against dynasties and 2) I could not bear the thought of 4-8 years of constant hatred and misogyny from the Right, which was so evident during that primary season. Since then I have learned that #2 was a stupid reason (eg., hatred and racism simply replaced hatred and misogyny) but it does annoy me to see Hillary being overwhelmed by this crap again.

  4. ElizaJane says:

    Obviously I meant that there were 3000+ comments, not donations. Talk about Freudian slips.

  5. Moosebreath says:

    “This is especially true given the fact that most of the news on this story has been broken by The New York Times and The Washington Post, which are hardly Fox News Channel.”

    Maybe not, but when the NY Times reporter’s twitter feed makes your attitude to the Clintons look like you are in Hillary’s pocket, then you need to re-think how much the mainstream media wants to take her down. Examples include:

    “In Iowa, Queen Hillary and the Everyday Americans of the Round Table distribute alms to the clamoring press.”

    “What’s the downside of @HillaryClinton, skilled ringmaster of her traveling media circus, avoiding the press? “

  6. stonetools says:

    Notwithstanding that, though, it seems obvious that these are issues that deserve to be scrutinized, especially if Clinton is going to become President.

    Hey, Doug, I think we ought to scrutinize how much secret PAC money is going from Republican donors to Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and other Republican nominees. I hear the Koch brothers intend to spend at least $900 million on the Presidential campaign, which sounds like a lot more than $26 million. Don’t the American people need to know about that?
    When are you going to call on the Kochs to reveal their secret PAC contributions to the Republican nominees, in the same way the Clintons have disclosed the donations to their Foundation?.
    I’m waiting for post #1 on this issue. Not holding my breath, though.

  7. Hal_10000 says:

    @wr:

    If we all agree to say she’s evil evil evil and that you are right to be obsessed with finding news stories to recast to make her look as evil as she really is, will you start posting on other topics?

    Yes. How dare Doug talk about the presumptive Democratic nominee! Or maybe he should focus on her policy ideas. Let’s see … uh … still looking … um …

  8. stonetools says:

    @ElizaJane:

    Two things are certain about liberals :

    1. They will be horrible at messaging (I’m sure some Clinton spokesman has said ONCE, somewhere, that the Foundation did some good)
    2.They will be shooting at each other ( Ten minutes after that spokesman issued that statement, two liberals will be attacking the Clintons for not doing more).

    The Repulicans, btw, are well aware of this, and are encouraging it.

    WASHINGTON — A Twitter post recently caught the eye of Bill McKibben, the environmental advocate and godfather of the Keystone XL pipeline protests. It included an image from “The Simpsons” showing Homer and his family basking in mountains of cash in their living room, followed by a report on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s appearing at a fund-raiser with a lobbyist from the Keystone fight.

    Mr. McKibben’s environmental organization, 350.org, has been trying to raise awareness about the ties it sees between lobbyists for the oil pipeline and former aides to Mrs. Clinton. He promptly shared the post with his 150,000 Twitter followers, and the reaction was immediate.

    “You expect different from a Clinton?” one person responded on Twitter. And from another: “Did you need another reason not to vote for Hillary Clinton?” Lost in the response was the source of the offending tweet. It was not another environmental organization or even a liberal challenger to Mrs. Clinton. Instead, it was a conservative group called America Rising PAC, which is trying, with laserlike focus, to weaken the woman who almost everyone believes will be the Democratic Party’s candidate for president in 2016.

    For months now, America Rising has sent out a steady stream of posts on social media attacking Mrs. Clinton, some of them specifically designed to be spotted, and shared, by liberals. The posts highlight critiques of her connections to Wall Street and the Clinton Foundation and feature images of Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, interspersed with cartoon characters and pictures of Kevin Spacey, who plays the villain in “House of Cards.” And as they are read and shared, an anti-Clinton narrative is reinforced.

    Apparently, it’s working.

  9. HarvardLaw92 says:

    This is honestly starting to get ridiculous.

  10. David M says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Do we really not know what policy positions the Democratic nominee is going to take, relative to the Republicans?

  11. LC says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    starting to?

  12. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Or maybe he should focus on her policy ideas. Let’s see … uh … still looking … um …

    Actually, I would welcome such a focus. She has made several policy statements, on, for example, immigration reform and criminal justice reform. But you would never know this from Doug’s posts.I guess that’s why you are so ignorant of Hillary’s policy proposals.

  13. Hal_10000 says:

    @David M:

    Yes, I think we do, given that the current Democratic President supports more surveillance, more foreign entanglements and the continuation of the War on Drugs and given that the presumptive candidate has extensive ties to Wall Street.

    @stonetools:

    A couple of speeches in which you lend support to ideas that already have popular support and are being proposed by other people (including some Republicans) is not exactly bold policy statement. In fact, if you check out her website, you will not find a section on policy.

    That’s not that unusual. At this point, 18 months away, most candidates are running on a biography and vagueness. The only candidate who has actually advance an agenda is Bernie Sanders (who also, not coincidentally, has no chance at the nomination). But it does mean that more attention will be paid to things like the Clinton Foundation and speaking fees. That’s the price you pay for basically having the nomination locked up eight years in advance.

    Doug has covered the Republican candidates, usually derisively (‘X is running for President for some reason’). But the intensity of coverage — here and elsewhere — will not be as intense because there is no presumptive nominee. Last I checked, there were 17 candidates on the GOP side. I can’t even keep track of them. One might have declared while I was writing this comment.

  14. the Q says:

    Wow, the blinders certainly on some libs when it comes to the Hillary.

    Come on folks, she’s a corrupt nag. Yes, preferable to any wingnut, but still, circling the wagons by pointing out the Koch dipschitz to justify her own questionable ethics? Like we haven’t seen this tired act before ad naseum from these two?

    The constant parsing over “donations” versus “revenue”…just the latest case.

    Lets not forget who she really is and who Bill really is….corporatist elitists who talk a good game of actually giving a schitt about the middle class while they eviscerated the safety net (welfare reform, Glass Steagal gutting) and take tens of miilions from the oligarchs.

    I guess the distaste of anything wingnut justifies overlooking HRC’s obvious flaws.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    This however does not concern Doug one bit.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/us/politics/25thomas.html?_r=0
    File it under things that make you go, hmmmmmm….

  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @the Q:

    Do you have a better Democratic candidate who can actually get elected that you would like to suggest?

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: It makes me wonder about Hillary’s ability to manage problems, which is something I’d like to see indicated.

    I’m awfully tempted to vote for Bernie in the primaries.

  18. aFloridian says:

    I feel like Doug is trolling now. Now way he is that myopically against Clinton and completely ignoring all the wack jobs on the right, correct? He knows it drives you liberals crazy and, frankly, it bothers me because it’s so one-sided willfully blind ignorance of GOP monied kingmakers.

    That, and it bothers me that the only candidate Doug (and James?) are willing to write off on the right is Ben Carson – like he is any less qualified than Carly Fiorina or some of those wackjob politicians. Shoot, how do you really judge qualified for the presidency? Let the people decide. They seem pretty wise most of the time /s/ – oh, but I’m complaining about James now I think.

  19. stonetools says:

    @C. Clavin:

    WASHINGTON — Under pressure from liberal critics, Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court acknowledged in filings released on Monday that he erred by not disclosing his wife’s past employment as required by federal law.

    Justice Thomas said that in his annual financial disclosure statements over the last six years, the employment of his wife, Virginia Thomas, was “inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions.”

    Hey, I’m pretty sure that all this was prefectly OK. He is, after all, a Republican….

    He also voted the “right way” on the greatest Supreme Court decision of all time, Citizens United, which freed billionaires and big corporations and allowed them to finally have a voice in our political system.

  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Which is fine, and which is your right, but I think you and I both know that she’s pretty certainly going to be the nominee. Sanders is not electable in a nationwide vote.

  21. the Q says:

    HL92………..Jim Webb for one. Warren, if she runs, for another.

    I will vote for HRC if she is the nominee, but lets not overlook her severe liabilities and not just blindly root for the Dem candidate like the wingnuts do with their standard bearer.

    She is severely comprimised in my mind as she and Bill “promised” to POTUS not to do the very things that they indeed did do.

    Then they equivocate, vacillate and parse their egregious behavior….then get a pass from the likes of the commenters here.

    Lets be honest…..she’s horrible, but prefeable to any GOP loon.

  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @the Q:

    Webb polled in the second place slot among Democrats in his own home state of Virginia. Clinton polled in the lead.

    Their respective showings? Clinton 80%, Webb 6%, and that’s in his home state. The primary electorate wants Clinton, to the extent that they may even be hostile to primary bids from other challengers.

    Warren isn’t going to run. She’s IMO far happier to continue the role of counter-point which her notoriety has given her, but from the safe pulpit of a MA Senate seat.

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @the Q:

    Note: I agree that she’s a deeply flawed candidate and I’m not exactly thrilled with her either, but she’s pretty certainly going to be the Dem nominee in 2016. We need to acknowledge that fact and move on to the general.

  24. Gavrilo says:

    Dammit, Doug! Why are you ignoring a four year old news story that Clavin found in the NY Times archives?

  25. KM says:

    @the Q:

    then get a pass from the likes of the commenters here.
    Lets be honest…..she’s horrible, but prefeable to any GOP loon

    Ummm, no.

    Many many posters have expressed this sentiment across all of Doug’s threads. We are being honest about her not being our ideal candidate. We have noted there’s whiffs of… let’s say lack of respectability. Many us will vote for her since there’s no one else. But she’s not “getting a pass” on anything in this. We are calling out some serious BS by people who just plain don’t like her and are letting their brains rot out loud because of it.

    “Donation” has specific legal meaning, as does “revenue”. If the speech was under the auspices of the Foundation and the money went to the Foundation, that’s called “getting paid”. As in, being paid for doing work, recompense, salary, paycheck. Not “donation” as in gift, present or freebie. That money was earned, not granted. They did work for the Foundation as members of the Foundation and the Foundation got paid for for that work – an extraordinarily basic concept in play all over this country at these nifty little things called “jobs” or “careers”. This is not the scandal people are trying to make it into.

  26. the Q says:

    KM, then why the need to “reclassify”?

    You mean to tell me they don’t have the best CPAs money can buy?

    Or do they use TurboTax for 501cs? And can do a “Geithner”?

  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @KM:

    The proper terminology here would be to differentiate between a contribution and an exchange transaction.

    That having been said, these pretty clearly constitute exchange transactions which should be recorded as revenue, not as contributions, given that the grantors required the recipient (in this case BC acting as an officer of the foundation) to provide a specific service in return for the grant. FASB 116 is pretty clear on this one.

    I think in this case they are voluntarily (and incorrectly) reclassifying certain transactions in order to try to immunize themselves from allegations of impropriety which are unfounded to begin with – which has never mattered in the gossip fest that passes for journalism these days.

  28. KM says:

    @the Q:

    KM, then why the need to “reclassify”?

    They didn’t need to. Did the IRS or some other legal entity require or direct them to? Are they in violation of the law? Words have meaning – they needed to do nothing.

    They chose to. As for why, look in a mirror. Someone like yourself who is disapproving of her in general and thus predisposed to find fault in a basic transaction you do not question for anyone else in the race. HL92 clarified the terminology above but the premise is clear: a transaction, payment for services rendered. He showed up and was paid for his time and speech.

    We have several people in these threads that have live experience with this. Anyone who’s ever received a speaker’s fee, would you be willing to tell us how you classified it – revenue or donation? How did the IRS view it?

  29. DrDaveT says:

    The money was paid as fees for speeches by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Foundation officials said the funds were tallied internally as “revenue” rather than donations, which is why they had not been included in the public listings of its contributors published as part of the 2008 agreement.

    I got that far into the quoted story (paragraph 3) and I already knew what was coming. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    As others have pointed out, this isn’t a donation. If the Clintons choose to interpret the fees paid (to the Foundation, not to them!) as being sufficiently above the going market rate that they wish to interpret some of it as donation, they can do that — but they don’t have to.

    I have to side with KM here — the Clintons would be better off at this point to take a stand and defend their actions, point to what the Foundation has accomplished, and challenge any of the Republican candidates to show a comparable accomplishment through their own efforts. At some point, “Yes, but you’re feeding the hungry and clothing the naked unethically!” starts to sound like exactly what it is.

  30. sam says:

    Outside of the collective erection that is the GOP every time some faux Clinton scandal is “revealed”, who gives a shit?

  31. the Q says:

    No sense talking to the Kool Aid drinkers here. No mention of the fact that whether or not these were parsed contributions or payments or speaking fees or whatever, she told the President that there would be a moratorium when she accepted the Secretary of State position and she clearly didn’t hold up her end of the bargain. No big deal right? Move along, its a Dem for god sakes so we don’t care. You are used to accepting the Clinton lies.

    And all you folks here are doing pretzel gymnastics to back up an esoteric, pedantic point are missing the bigger picture of her rotten corruptness or do you need another generation of middle class impoverishment to realize the sleaziness of the Clintons?

    Again, its like having to side with Stalin against Hitler in this next election.

  32. JohnMcC says:

    @the Q: No one here has expressed unreserved enthusiasm for Ms Clinton. Probably most of the liberals here are onto the connection between the financial/investing community and the Clintons and do not like it; certainly that is true of me.

    But this next election being in any way analogous to the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact? Really?

    What an adolescent outburst!

    Why don’t you stifle your hurt feelings and determine to prove some of the crimes that you’re so certain she’s committed? I will wait patiently.

  33. stonetools says:

    @the Q:

    Yeah, but the US did make that deal-and it worked out in the long run.

    Man, get over your self. It’s the choice of the flawed and possibly unethical over the undeniably evil, bigoted , and stupid-a party with a program to coddle the super rich, screw the poors, keep down the blacks, keep out the browns, and drive the gays back into the closet-and that’s just their domestic program. Cotton, Graham and McClain want to start a war with Iran ASAP. Do you want someone who agrees with them in White House.?

    Frankly, this is not a difficult choice for me. So we don’t live in Fairy Gum Drop Land. Grow the fvck up and choose the lesser evil, or greater good, or however you do your moral calculus.

  34. stonetools says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I have to side with KM here — the Clintons would be better off at this point to take a stand and defend their actions, point to what the Foundation has accomplished, and challenge any of the Republican candidates to show a comparable accomplishment through their own efforts. At some point, “Yes, but you’re feeding the hungry and clothing the naked unethically!” starts to sound like exactly what it is.

    It’s that liberal cringe at work. Can you imagine if a Republican had done as the Clintons did? They’d be shrugging off these accusations (“There those liberals go again!)” and the entire right wing BS machine and the Republican Party would be singing their hosannas. Meanwhile, the Clintons have to face the right wing shootting them in the front and liberal purists shooting them in back -and all this on a screed from a known right wing hack

  35. the Q says:

    “Grow the fvck up and choose the lesser evil, or greater good, or however you do your moral calculus.”

    I first voted for Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and was born in 1930, so thats hysterical what you wrote.

    I am sick of neo liberal hack baby boomer shcitt heads who have sold their souls and are by far the most worthless generation in our history. You dipschitts have handed over the keys to the kingdom to the wealthy, destroyed the New Deal and have elected 3 of the most useless boomer Presidents in Clinton, Bush and Obama – corporate shiills all. Thank you for the greatest wealth gap in our history, the worst unemployment since I was a kid, a poverty level thats embarrasing and then I have to read, “Grow the fvck up and choose the lesser evil, or greater good, or however you do your moral calculus.”

    Its clear the moral compass of your generation is “dont get caught”. Bill should have resigned in absolute disgrace and the whining by your morons who support this couple is beyond contempt.

    So let me just say to you boomers who dance around HRC’s grotesque excuses “Grow the fvck up and readjust your moral calculus.”

  36. michael reynolds says:

    I Doug getting paid to write this crap every day? Let’s have full disclosure on Doug Mataconis’ sources of income. Does he have some deal requiring a daily Hillary bash?

    Even by the standards of your Hillary bashing this is weak beer.

    OMG, an accounting error! Let’s see Doug’s tax forms and see if we can spot a similarly insignificant error.

  37. Tillman says:

    How did this thread get past the first comment?

    From the linked WaPo story: (not excerpted in the article)

    While the Clinton Foundation has annually disclosed its donors since 2008, the foundation said Thursday that organizations that paid for Clinton speeches have not before been included in those lists because they were paying for a service and not making a tax-deductible donation. …

    A foundation official indicated the speech dollars have been disclosed as revenue in annual tax filings to the IRS.

    I’m failing to see how this can be elevated to a “grotesque excuse.” It doesn’t quite touch the fact that, since superPACs are banned from colluding with campaigns they support, Jeb Bush hasn’t officially declared his candidacy so he can channel funding into them now. But this isn’t newsworthy on OTB because Bush isn’t the presumptive nominee of a political party, presumably. And Bush doesn’t have a sleazy reputation with the authors.

  38. Davebo says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    It stopped being ridiculous and slid onto hilarious territory about 33 posts ago.

  39. Davebo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    There was no accountant error.

  40. MBunge says:

    This reminds me of Bill’s impeachment where the one charge he was 100% guilty of, abuse of power, was a charge even the Republicans couldn’t endorse.

    Everyone gets obsessed with legalisms and forgets the law isn’t the only codes by which we should live.

    Mike

  41. DrDaveT says:

    @the Q:

    No mention of the fact that whether or not these were parsed contributions or payments or speaking fees or whatever, she told the President that there would be a moratorium when she accepted the Secretary of State position and she clearly didn’t hold up her end of the bargain.

    Finally, a legitimate complaint.

    You’re right. Hillary agreed to stupid restrictions on how she and her Foundation could operate, and absolutely did not abide by those restrictions. I agree that this is worrisome, and does not reflect at all well on Hillary. I would find it much more troubling, though, if the net result of her lying had not been more money going for good causes.

    In the end, the biblical criterion of “by their fruits shall you know them” works pretty well. People who are sleazy for charity trump people who are sleazy for personal gain, or in service of their billionaire masters, or in order to perpetuate discrimination. Would I prefer people who are not sleazy? Only if they do as well for the worthy causes as the sleazy people do.

  42. Tillman says:

    @MBunge:

    Everyone gets obsessed with legalisms and forgets the law isn’t the only codes by which we should live.

    You’re right, there are other codes by which to live, and by which we should conduct ourselves. However, in the political sphere, I’ve noticed an awful lot of codes getting thrown into the trash. Sixty votes being the threshold for anything getting done in the Senate was the result of a code getting tossed, and it’s done more damage to the country (not even damage to a liberal or progressive agenda, but real damage in terms of institutional precedent) than anything sleazy-seeming donations going into the Clinton Foundation’s coffers have done. But I’m supposed to give a sh!t about them? We’ve seriously just gone through six years of demonstration into the limits of the presidency when Congress refuses to do anything to deny political victories. If Clinton is elected president, and if she has coattails that rival Obama’s — both of those still big ifs — we’ll still have a Congress that does nothing.

    As to legalisms, I get obsessed with legalisms when all I’m presented with is vague conspiratorial thinking. Which is all this is so far, and no new revelation has moved the dial from vague conspiratorial thinking to “something fishy going on.” I’m not even being partisan on this — if you presented crap of the same caliber concerning a Koch charity’s taking in speaking fees while one of them was a Senator or held a high position in an administration, I still wouldn’t give a sh!t. I might make a snarky comment since I’m in a different seat than they are, and aisles and whatever, but that’d be it. It wouldn’t even be mean.

    Where’s the beef?

  43. MBunge says:

    @Tillman: Where’s the beef?

    There isn’t any. Unless you can prove the Clinton Foundation is spending more on Bill’s girlfriends than on helping the needy, any real or imagined ethical lapses will be excused by good intentions. And if Hillary-Haters were thinking about this ethically or morally, they’d know it was a dry hole.

    Mike

  44. wr says:

    @MBunge: “This reminds me of Bill’s impeachment where the one charge he was 100% guilty of, abuse of power, was a charge even the Republicans couldn’t endorse.”

    How did he abuse his power?

  45. Grewgills says:

    For all of you complaining about Doug churning out pieces on the Clintons, if click bait annoys you, stop clicking.

  46. MBunge says:

    @wr: How did he abuse his power?

    This is what I mean by legalism. There’s no definition by statute where someone who does X is guilty of abuse of power. But what else would you call it, for example, when Clinton brought his Cabinet officials to the White House, lied to their faces and sent them out to use their credibility to defend that lie to the public?

    Mike

  47. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT:

    People who are sleazy for charity trump people who are sleazy for personal gain

    Typing this line reminded me of the English comedian Alexei Sayle, who famously said something similar to

    Yeah, well, everything’s all right if you do it for charity, innit? I mean if Hitler had invaded Poland for spina bifida, it would have been all right.

    (I actually remember the line as “annexed the Sudetenland for spina bifida”, but I can’t find any record of such a thing on the web.)

  48. wr says:

    @MBunge: “This is what I mean by legalism. There’s no definition by statute where someone who does X is guilty of abuse of power. But what else would you call it, for example, when Clinton brought his Cabinet officials to the White House, lied to their faces and sent them out to use their credibility to defend that lie to the public?”

    Well, to start with, that’s not really an abuse of presidential power. Maybe if they all knew the truth and he ordered them to lie or be fired (or imprisoned) that would be abusing his power. What he was doing here was hardly employing his power in an extraordinary way — if he’d done that, he wouldn’t have needed to lie to his subordinates.

    And here’s my problem with your entire formulation about “legalisms:” You seem to think that it’s a problem that people can’t be prosecuted for doing things you don’t like simply because there’s no law against them. But if the law isn’t our standard for prosecution, what is? That someone out there doesn’t like something? Who? You?

  49. MBunge says:

    @wr: Well, to start with, that’s not really an abuse of presidential power.

    The President of the United States summons his Cabinet officials to the White House, lies to them directly and sends them out to not only repeat that lie but use their credibility to bolster his own…and that’s not an abuse of power?

    And you are completely missing the point on legalism. I don’t want people prosecuted for moral and ethical violations. But obeying the law should only be the bare minmum standard that political leaders and elected officials should have to meet. They should be expected to abide by ethical and moral standards that are more stringent than the letter of the law.

    And that is not something which only applies to Bill and Hillary Clinton, but there’s no one else whose defenders more frequently invoke the “what law did they break” defense as if that’s the only standard which matters.

    Mike

  50. Grewgills says:

    @MBunge:

    but there’s no one else whose defenders more frequently invoke the “what law did they break” defense as if that’s the only standard which matters.

    Perhaps because there is no other couple that has been under such intense scrutiny for the past 25+ years. If Republicans hadn’t initiated so many misguided probes into their life over that time there wouldn’t be the fatigue and the rote response of “what law are you claiming they broke this time?” The Republicans are the boy who cried scandal and they only have themselves to blame for that.

    Also, as has been pointed out numerous times, the only standard that matters at this point is which alternative is most good / least bad. Relative to all the competition that has any chance of winning my choice is clear.

  51. DrDaveT says:

    @MBunge:

    but there’s no one else whose defenders more frequently invoke the “what law did they break” defense as if that’s the only standard which matters.

    I don’t know; I seem to recall a lot of “but it’s not technically treason” defenses of a certain open letter to Iran recently.

    You only get defenders when someone is under attack. Sometimes, “Where there’s smoke, there’s a smoke machine” is a reasonable conclusion.

  52. wr says:

    @MBunge: The law IS the standard. That’s why it’s the law. And technically it applies to everyone. (In reality, it applies a lot more to poor people than the rich, but that’s another discussion.) And it’s the standard we can all agree on. Anything else, the standard is entirely subjective. What you consider beyond the pale I might think of as trivial — and vice versa.

    So how do we apply your “it’s not good enough to obey the law” standard?